Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Happy 81st, J.C. Caroline

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Happy 81st, J.C. Caroline

George Bon Salle, by the numbers

On Jan. 12, 1957, the Illini basketball team won 79-63 at Wisconsin behind a game-high 21 points by senior center George Bon Salle. A product of Chicago’s Loyola Academy, Bon Salle was an outstanding pivot man for coach Harry Combes, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1956. Now retired following a career in financial planning, he and his wife, Jeanne, reside in Albuquerque, N.M. Here is Bon Salle’s career story, by the numbers:

1
Illinois’ top scorer during the 1955-56 season, averaging 19.5 points per game

2
Bon Salle’s two children played college sports: daughter Jackie played volleyball at Florida State and son Andrew played basketball at American University

3
Number of NBA games he played (for the Chicago Packers during the 1961-62 season)

7
Seventh overall pick in the first round of the 1957 NBA draft (by the Syracuse Nationals)

17.3
Career scoring average for the Illini in 56 games

22
His jersey number at Illinois

36
Collegiate-high points he scored against Minnesota in 1956

225
Pounds he carried on his 6-foot, 8-inch frame

970
Total points he scored at Illinois, good for 49th place all time at the UI

1959
Year he played with the U.S. Pan American Games team, winning the gold medal

Illini birthdays
Sunday: Renee Gamboa, swimming (37)
Monday: Drew McMahon, football (29)
Tuesday: Jeff Alexander, wrestling (42)
Wednesday: Wayne McClain, basketball coach (59)
Thursday: Rachel Feldman, volleyball (24)
Friday: J.C. Caroline, football (81)
Saturday: Greg Engel, football (43)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore

Get Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @B1GLLL

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